Tribute to Officer Jeremy Henwood Planned
Fight fans, it’s time to ring the bell for the highly-anticipated “SoCal Battle of the Badges” THIS Saturday, March 3 at Pala Casino, Spa and Resort located in Pala, Calif. This is always one of my favorite events combining amateur boxing (this year will also feature amateur MMA), live entertainment, special guests and more–all benefiting the nonprofit Cops 4 Kids & Communities (C4KC).
This bi-annual event is all for charity to assist underprivileged and at-risk children. The C4KC organization (which also has their own Youth Boxing Club) was founded by members of law enforcement. “Let’s Reach Them Before We Have To Rescue Them” is their mission statement as they mentor children and teens through educational, sports and arts programs.
Last year’s event in October raised approximately $35,000 to help the individuals in need–and this year’s function hopes to top that mark.
You can help by attending this action-packed fight night featuring both men and women’s bouts, grudge matches and the new addition of MMA combat in which the officers put down their shields and pick up the gloves.
I caught up with C4KC’s Executive Director and former officer Jeff Penn as their event quickly nears. Penn was getting ready for today’s weigh-in in Hemet. The hard-working showrunner shared the exciting details about this first show of 2012.
“We will have MMA bouts, a new band playing called An Ocean Alive and a special tribute to Officer Jeremy Henwood with “X Factor’s” Caylie Gregorio singing live,” Penn told me. “There will be ring card girls from Tilted Kilt and Armando Muniz, MMA’s Jesse Taylor and Ricardo “Pantcho” Feliciano are also celebrity guests and judges.”
Fan favorite Master of Ceremonies Ken Southern and Mark Blanton are also back by popular demand. The two have become known for their witty banter between bouts and for also hosting an impromptu “Ring Card Boy” contest just for the ladies in the audience.
Penn says 16 matches are scheduled including one female feud and five MMA clashes. This year’s event is right on target to be another sell out, so get your tickets early. Not only can you root for your favorite peace officers fighting in the name of charity, but you can do your part in ensuring the at-risk youngsters benefit from this spirited fundraiser.
Penn and his committee, sponsors, volunteers, and officers all donate their time to give back to the community. Rebekah Ford, from the Riverside’s District Attorneys Office, is just one of the proud faces cheering on the combatants and lending support to this worthwhile cause. Ford is a past fighter in the event through the years has become known as the “Cookie Lady” for her home-baked treats she brings to the boxing bash. Ford enjoys seeing her brave associates lace up and says she’s looking really forward to this Saturday.
All are excited for this year’s installment taking place at Pala. Past fight nights have showcased non-stop action so you can be assured this Saturday evening will be no different. I’ve seen walkouts worthy of any pro champ with smoke effects, large entourages and throngs of fans outfitted in custom T-shirts. The sluggers may be working officers in their day jobs, but on this one night they are true warriors fighting for braggin’ rights–and fighting in the name of charity.
Some have ring experience, others are first-timers. But safety is always the first priority. “We go above and beyond with their safety,” Penn confirms. “We use larger gloves and they are checked by doctor’s at the weigh-in. We also have the best officials working in the ring.”
The headlining boxing match of the night is Ken “The Terminator” Hoon vs. Justin “Bubba” Robinson; the co-main (MMA bout) will be Donnie “Mad Dog” Moncrief vs. Josh “The White Shadow” Girello.
Officer Donnie Moncrief was very good friends with the fallen officer, Jeremy Henwood, who was killed last August. There will be a poignant tribute honoring the San Diego policeman, who was also a Captain in the Marine Corp. This senseless tragedy weighs heavily on all members of the force and a special ceremony will be unveiled at this weekend’s event.
Don’t miss out on this charity fundraiser!
C4KC “Battle of the Badges”
Pala Casino–Events Center
6:00 PM 21 & Over ONLY
40.00 Reserved/ 30.00 General Admission
Photos by Michele Chong